An action plan helps you reach both short- and long-term goals while developing foresight and flexibility
Creating a 90-day action plan for your business helps set and reach clear and realistic goals. This roadmap can also narrow down your short-term objectives to prioritize focus for a set period. And an action plan will help you apply what you learn during that time to the future.
Whatever you’re using this technique to accomplish—whether increasing revenue, getting more customers, or growing your business—you’ve got to nail it. Here are a few pointers for doing just that:
Set SMART goals
An action plan requires a set of desired outcomes, driven by how you want your business to look after 90 days. But where do you start? Make sure each of your goals, including daily and weekly targets as well as your 90-day goal, are SMART.
SMART goals are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Let’s dive into what these terms mean when you’re prioritizing.
- Specific. It’s not enough to say that you want to increase revenue. You need to write down a number that you want to reach by day 90.
- Measurable. How will you track progress? If your goal can’t be measured, it’s not a SMART one.
- Achievable. Do you have everything you need right now to make it happen? You should have all the necessary resources before beginning.
- Realistic. Make sure your goals are possible. SMART goals can be bold but not so aggressive that the desired outcome is a giant leap from what your business has accomplished in recent history.
- Timely. While you have 90 days for your full action plan to come alive, create time-based targets within that period. Check off small steps that lead to the big payoff.
Another tip: It’s not enough to set these business goals on your own. Make sure your team is involved in planning. Emphasize how these goals align with the company’s overall vision so that everyone is aligned.
Determine cash flow requirements
For your 90-day plan to work, you need the right balance of income and expenses. How much money will you need to bring in regularly during this period? What expenses are you certain to have? What unplanned costs could potentially arise?
Surprises happen, and three months is plenty of time for something to go wrong, even if it’s unrelated to the present goals. Categorize your costs into fixed and variable. For example, rent or space costs will be fixed, while supplies or salaries may be inconsistent.
Be prepared with a realistic cash flow plan. List your obligations and the actual cash you know you’ll receive.
Identify other sources of income
Once cash flow is figured out, maybe you realize that your goals require a bit more money coming in regularly. Determine other income channels. Get creative. Involve other people who can think of additional sources or provide helpful perspectives.
And don’t underestimate the power of eliminating expenses. Negotiate with a vendor or research other businesses in the area that might be more affordable. If you have high debt payments each month, consider trying to defer payments or restructure your payment plan.
If you don’t have much debt, a business loan can help in a pinch. If the only obstacle to nailing your 90-day plan is more cash, a reasonable loan is not always a bad idea.
Be firm but adaptable
A 90-day action plan requires consistency and commitment. But there are always circumstances that arise to change plans quickly. Your benchmarks and goals may need to be updated within the quarter.
For example, many small business owners had very different goals before the pandemic. But now, what they consider success to look like and the benchmarks they set are based on post-COVID numbers.
Try to stay flexible and celebrate small wins. This is where incremental steps are helpful as you are on the path to a 90-day desired outcome.
Need outside help?
Often, an impartial, professional set of eyes can provide the perspective to clarify efficient planning. Provident CPA & Business Advisors can help you create the right strategy, set SMART goals, and track your progress along the way. We assist in planning for successful growth by identifying your critical drivers and creating the right budget. And our cash flow analysis focuses on the now to help you create a better future.
Contact the Provident team to learn more about our business strategy services.